Long-term care chefs have cook-off for best sweet, savory dishes

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OKLAHOMA -- Chefs from across the state are battling it out in the kitchen with a cook-off to see who can whip up the most tasty and presentable sweet and savory dishes. The prize... A giant silver spoon.

The Second Annual Silver Spoon Culinary Competition is presented by CARE Oklahoma and U.S. Foods.

The chefs get to work with the U.S. Foods demonstration kitchen, to make things like chocolate covered cherry cupcakes and Thai crab cakes with a peanut lime sauce. But they have to follow one rule: they can only use ingredients found in long-term care facilities.

“It’s no longer cafeteria food or hospital food, we do great dishes,” said Jeff Waddle, Touch Mark in Edmond.

From savory foods, like London broil marinated in a Brandy mushroom sauce, to sweet delights like glorified rice crispy treats, having elegant and tasty meals is always on the menu.

“It’s peanut butter, white chocolate, rice crispies, marshmallows and mini chocolate chips,” said Melissa Romesburg, Ranchwood Nursing Center in Yukon.

“To me, I think the best benefit of being in a retirement community is to be able to walk down to a dining room like it’s a hotel and have a nice dish, it’s the highlight of their day,” said Waddle.

Ten chefs are going head-to-head in the kitchen for the grand prize.

“We think of seniors with silver hair and then the spoon for the competition, so when you merge the two together, you get a silver spoon,” said Keith Dobbs, CARE Oklahoma.

There are just under 500 long-term care facilities in Oklahoma and this competition is all about showing off the sophisticated palette our seniors have.

“When you think about it, you eat with your eyes first. When you go to the restaurant, you open up the menu; you see the beautiful picture, that’s what makes you hungry. So when you see these dishes, it’s fulfilling. You’re feeding not just your stomach, but your soul at the same time,” said Rob Johnson.

Silver Spoon winners will be announced on April 22 at the statewide long-term care convention at the Embassy Suites in Norman.

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